Don’t Throw Out That Orchid Just Yet – CBS Dallas / Fort Worth
(CBSDFW.COM) – Here’s the thing about orchids. They can be bought cheaply (under $ 15) at grocery stores and retailers. They offer a beautiful flower for a few months with little care. They are the second most gifted plant in America after the poinsettia.
Then people throw them out. Yes, the orchid is the next most popular throwaway plant in America. Why? Perhaps because most are tropical plants and require high humidity, not a common environment in a cold season household. More likely, after the flower has bloomed, the plant will fall into a dormant state for a while, where it looks almost dead.
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But the truth is, orchids are perennials that can live for decades. The plant will produce this flower at about the same time during its life each year. Aside from careful irrigation (with rainwater, not tap water), they are really a low-maintenance installation. They even like to “push” the pot they live in; You only need to repot every 2-3 years.
If you want to keep this orchid the first thing you want to do is find out exactly what type you have. There are over 30,000 known species of orchid, some of which require entirely different types of care and sunlight. There are non-tropical orchids that grow on loose soil, for example.
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The final result? If you have a tropical orchid, most likely they will like the special bark medium that they sell in plant stores. Keep some water underneath, but not where the soil stays damp. The plant wants moisture, not water. Only use rainwater as the alkaline water in these parts does NOT like. When the night lows start to linger in the 50s, take it outside in the sun or shade. As long as it doesn’t dry out, it will thrive outdoors in the Texas heat.
Be sure to visit the greenhouse at the back of the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. They have an impressive collection of New World Orchids. A few days a week you can find Dr. Dotty Woodson; Orchids is a pleasure to talk to her as she is basically a walking encyclopedia about the plants. When you visit, be aware of the size of some of the older orchids in the collection. These plants can get the size of a barrel.
The hope of soon building a special orchid conservatory on the site where the collection is to be housed. Otherwise, you will see many of the plants that circulate through the various buildings around the garden all year round. There is a Fort Worth Orchid Society on Facebook, they also have a website. You can get help figuring out what type of orchid you have and some care instructions.
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The flower of an orchid is an evolutionary marvel that drove the evolution of insects. The range of shapes and colors is just incredible. These are NOT annual plants. Give them a good home and they will decorate you with their spectacular flower every year.